Do You Feel Like You’re Always Putting Out Fires? Here’s How to Fix it

If you feel like you’re always putting out fires at work – fixing someone else’s mistakes – you might want to point the finger of blame at those around you.

However, the ‘firefighter mentality’ at work often comes from the person themselves: A lot of the so-called fires that spring up are often highly preventable. They might come from procrastination, or an inability to say ‘no’ to a request for help.

If you feel like you’re always putting out fires, follow our advice:

You’re always up against a deadline.

It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where no matter how hard you work, and no matter how good your intentions are – you’re always running up against a deadline.

Scheduling is the key to avoiding deadline-induced panic. Using a calendar app you like, schedule whatever amount of time you think it’ll take to ensure particular tasks get done. Get in the habit of setting a personal deadline before the ‘real deadline’ so you have time to review your work or deal with anything that comes last-minute.

You’re always missing key bits of information.

Meetings can be long and boring. Most people will admit to zoning out occasionally during them. If you have a hard time paying attention to what people are telling you, you’re likely walking around without all of the information your need.

Paying attention starts with eliminating distractions. When you’re in a situation where you need to take in a lot of information, make sure all your electronic devices are put away. Once any and all distractions are put away. You can turn your focus toward taking copious notes.

You’re always swamped with work.

Tasks and responsibilities can quickly stack up. When that happens, if feel like you spend your entire work day grinding it out. When always being busy might give you a sense of job security, very few, if any, jobs are meant to have you always hustling from task to task. Every job should include time to reflect on your work and take a few mental breaks.

Prioritize your duties and get better at saying no work that isn’t essential to your goals. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, ask your supervisor if there’s anything that can be done to take things off your plate, either temporarily or permanently.

You’re always rushing.

Almost any job has busy days and slow days. If you’re entire week revolves around rushing and pounding coffee, you’re doing work wrong.

One simple trick to stop rushing is to simply get to work on-time or even a bit early, including when you come back from a break. Coming into work 5 minutes early rather than 5 minutes late adds up over time, making you more productive in the process.

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